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Favor to the country
Sir, - The state comptroller not only hasn't compromised his position and credibility, he is doing a paramount favor to all Israelis by fighting corruption - more dangerous to our country than the Iranian threat. He is fighting against corrupt politicians, those who make money out of the corruption, and some members of the press who turn a blind eye.
If he has identified corruption in high places as our main enemy and enlisted the media as his main allies - I say, good work! Carry on! ("Comptroller accuses Home Front command of 'breaking the law,'" March 6.)
Sir, - Hamas used metal pipes bought from Israel for constructing a Gaza sewage system to produce Kassam rockets to fire at Israeli towns ("Made in Israel - Kassam rocket parts," March 4). Will the PA now cite the lack of a decent sewage system as an example of the living conditions that encourage Palestinians to engage in terrorism against their neighbors?
Blind and deaf
Sir, - Marcia Freedman and Diane Cantor of Brit Tzedek v'shalom write that "a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement (between Israel and the Palestinians) will lead to understanding in the educational and every other area. Only such a settlement will bring Israel the peace and security her people so richly deserve" ("Misrepresented," Letters, March 5).
Maybe that is the real difference between Left and Right in Israel: The Left believes such a negotiated settlement is possible; the Right accepts the reality of Palestinians' words, which say their ultimate objective is Israel's destruction. Pay attention to what the Palestinians do and listen to what they say, and you will understand what they want.
The problem with the extreme Left is a blindness and deafness to Middle East realities. It carries on with its dreams of peace and security that are truly impossible without sincere peace partners.
The sad fact of life is that Israel is at war with implacable enemies who will never rest until Israel ceases to exist. And the extreme Left, with all its sincere, misguided efforts, is helping those enemies succeed by sowing discord among Jews.
No Jews in Fassouta
Sir, - "Obama: Mecca agreement is not good enough" (Verbatim, March 6) was a lovely bit of pie in the sky. Barack Obama needs to come down from his perch up there and get a hold on reality.
Israel has no "moderates" in the Palestinian Authority with whom to negotiate. One cannot in good conscience consider Mahmoud Abbas a moderate when he tells his people to stop killing each other and turn their guns on the Jews.
Obama was in incorrect in calling Kiryat Shmona, established in 1950, a village; it officially became a city in 1974. He also erred in saying the population of the Galilee village of Fassouta is composed of Christians, Muslims and Jews living together in peace.
No Jews live in Fassouta.
Missing the mark
Sir, - Rabbi Dr. Yitz (Irving) Greenberg is one of the brightest, most articulate and thoughtful Jewish thinkers I have ever met. However, "The next core institution of Jewish life" (February 26) missed the mark.
Rabbi Greenberg's premise is that historical developments in Jewish life result in changes in the centrality of various institutions and personalities. The replacement of the Temple with the synagogue and the substitution of the rabbi for the Temple priest are obvious examples.
He lists various institutions that developed in 20th-century Jewish secular life: the State of Israel, community centers and lay leadership. Finally, he makes his point: The latest Jewish institutions, that will replace synagogue and rabbi, are - Holocaust Memorials and Jewish retreats!
Greenberg has hung around too long in the shadow of Michael Steinhardt and his a-religious view of Judaism. He is deluding himself. Judaism without religion has not worked and will not work. Ben-Gurion's Judaism lasted one-and-a-half generations, at most.
Bnei Akiva and the other manifestations of religious Zionism have a virtual monopoly on the State of Israel, as a value in Jewish life. Intermarriage is a phenomenon of secular Judaism alone. Aliya from affluent Western countries is almost exclusively dati.
The Jewish birthrate is declining, except in religious communities: Kiryat Sefer, Beitar, Jerusalem, Boro Park, Williamsburgh, Stamford Hill, Golders Green.
How many people attend Jewish retreats in a week? A hundred, 500, 1,000? In my home town of Ra'anana, population 70,000, some 10,000 people go to shul every Shabbat. The average age in the synagogue is dropping. How many people can Mr. Steinhart mobilize for his causes? Thousands?
Rabbi Greenberg is absolutely correct that Jewish institutions must undergo change. Religious Jewish leaders must have secular, scientific, commercial, psychological and humanities training. They must get out of the choking environment of the beit midrash alone. The synagogues must be more inviting. We must rethink the role of women in Jewish religious life.
However, to make a logical leap from failings in Jewish institutional life to their replacement by Holocaust memorials and retreats is a step that belies reality.
DAVID J. MARTIN
She's got the knack
Sir, - As the wife of Prof. Rudolf Jaenisch, I want to thank Judy Siegel-Itzkovich and The Jerusalem Post for the wonderful "A man and a mouse" (February 11) about my husband's work in genetics and epigenetics. I have seen so many poorly-written articles; it was a joy to see Rudolf and his science portrayed so engagingly.
Your writer has the knack of making complicated issues sound easy - just what the general public needs, and what science needs to stay in touch with the people who, through their tax dollars, pay for it.
Rudolf and I are grateful for a great time in Jerusalem, where he received the Shai Shacknai Prize of the Hebrew University Medical Faculty's Lautenberg Center.